home by the loch

Mary Berry's Banana Loaf

This is a real family favourite in my house. So much so that Alan and Eliza will often secretly agree to leave a couple of bananas to ripen in the fruit bowl in the hope that I will make it for them. 

Mary Berry's Banana Loaf   

Mary Berry's Banana Loaf


This recipe is taken from 'Mary Berry Foolproof Cakes' (BBC Books)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
You will need: 900g (2lb) loaf tin, 17 x 9 x 9 cm base measurement
100g (4oz) butter, softened
175g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
Lightly grease the loaf tin and line it with non-stick baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas Mark 4. Measure all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended; an electric blender is best for this but you can also beat by hand with a wooden spoon.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for about 1 hour, until well risen and golden brown. A fine skewer inserted in the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then loosen with a small palette knife and turn the cake out. Remove the lining paper and leave on a wire rack to cool completely.
If using a Aga, place the grid shelf on the bottom set of runners and check after 50 mins. 
This cake freezes really well too.
Mary Berry


Mary Berry's Hokey Pokey Coffee Cake

This cake takes a little more work than other popular family cakes but it's well worth the effort. I usually save this one for Sunday tea as it's the perfect way to finish off the weekend.

Mary Berry's Hokey Pokey Coffe Cake

Mary Berry's Hokey Pokey Coffe Cake

This recipe is taken from 'Mary Berry Foolproof Cakes' (BBC Books)

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 - 35 minutes

You will need: 2 loose-bottomed 20cm (8 in) sandwich tins, 4 cm (1.5 in) deep


225g (8 oz) margarine, softened

225g (8 oz) caster sugar

4 eggs

225g (8 oz) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee, mixed with 1 tablespoon of hot water

75g (3 oz) walnuts, chopped

For the walnut praline:

2 tablespoons water

50g (2 oz) caster sugar

50g (2 oz) walnut pieces

For the butter icing:

75g (3 oz) butter, softened

250g (9 oz) icing sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee, dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water


Lightly grease the tins and line the bases with non-stick baking parchment. Pre-heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Measure all the ingredients for the cake into a mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly blended; an electric mixer is best for this but you can also use a bowl and wooden spoon. 

Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and gently level the surface with the back of a palette knife, spoon or plastic spatula. 

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until the cakes are well risen, golden and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tins. The tops of the cakes should spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then run a small palette knife or blunt knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen them. Turn out on to a wire rack, peel off the paper and leave to cool completely.

While the cakes are baking, you can make the praline. Put the water and caster sugar into a small pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook slowly until the sugar turns to a nut brown. Watch the pan like a hawk, as the sugar can burn quickly.

Take it off the heat and stir in the walnuts, then pour the mixture out on to non-stick baking parchment or an oiled baking tray and leave to cool completely. Roughly break up the cold, hard praline with your fingers. Save the best pieces for the top of the cake, then chop the remainder to add to the icing for the middle of the cake.

For the butter icing, put the butter, icing sugar and dissolved coffee into a small bowl and mix well until evenly blended.

Select the cake with the best top, then place the other cake top downwards on a serving plate. Spread with half the butter icing and add the chopped praline. Place the second cake on top (top upwards) and spread with the remaining butter icing. Use a small palette knife to spread the icing neatly, then decorate with the reserved walnut praline pieces.